Led by Clara Grainger and Kaziah White, soon-to-be juniors at Fairview High School in South Boulder, Colo., the club Leaping for Liberia (LEAP) raised nearly $600 for the Girls Education International (GEI) scholarship program in Liberia. LEAP meets once each week over the lunch hour, during the school year. The group of up to 70 students usually discusses where they want the money they raise to go, any upcoming fundraisers, and ideas for new ways to raise money. Girls Ed recently caught up with the two 16-year-old leaders of the group to ask them a few questions about LEAP.
GEI: Why did you start LEAP?
Clara: We started LEAP because we wanted to get involved in girls' education in Africa, and none of the existing clubs were really focused on that.
GEI: What enticed you about working with Africans?
Kaziah: Africa is a really interesting continent, and we wanted to know more about it. Also, we knew that in certain countries, education is a big issue. Since that's what we wanted to help with, we thought Africa would be a good choice.
GEI: How did you find Girls Education International?
Clara: We found Girls' Education International on the Internet when we looked up local non-profits working with education in Africa.
GEI: What have you learned so far from this experience? (Maybe both of you could answer this one).
Kaziah: I've learned a ton from this experience. It really helps things to stay in perspective and makes me realize how incredibly lucky I am to be able to get a wonderful education without having to pay for it. I also learned never to start out with a clothes drive for girls in Africa; it costs a ton of money, and we hadn't taken that into account. I really think that I have (and will continue to) gained a great deal from this experience.
Clara: Yes, I agree about the clothes drive. This has also made me realize how we all tend to take school for granted. It is something that is has been provided for us. Without the scholarships, these girls in Liberia couldn't go to school, yet we still complain when we have to get up and go somewhere that we haven't really had to work for. This experience will continue to keeps things in perspective.
GEI: What have been the most rewarding parts of this project?
Kaziah: Just knowing that in some small way we're helping someone get opportunities that we've always taken for granted before is a very rewarding experience. Also, knowing that the girls we're working with are our age is really motivating.
GEI: What have been some of your biggest frustrations?
Clara: Well, some big frustrations have been trying to get people to take us seriously, both inside and outside the club. When people meet us, their first thought tends to be, "they're still in high school!" and they seem to take it from there.
GEI: What are you future goals with LEAP?
Kaziah: We want to continue to work with Girls Education International, and we want to try and raise more money than we did this year. Also, starting up communications with the girls in Liberia would be great.
Check out the clubs' Facebook page by clicking here.